OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Not strictly N8 but we're talking footsteps so I'm happy to place my review here.  Please don't let the fact that my husband is the head chef at the Salisbury, make you think that this review is in anyway biased!

It's the day of the Grand National and happens to be one of the most glorious days of Spring so far with bright sunshine and soaring temperatures so we are unusually one of only a few people partaking of the Sunday roast today.

I order a roast beef Sunday lunch for myself and a kid's portion for Isabelle. We're not waiting long before our lunch arrives and it looks good: Rare roast beef served with glazed carrots, steamed savoy cabbage cooked al dente, garden peas, crunchy roast potatoes with melting middles, two yorkshire puddings and a slick of wonderfully savoury gravy.  Sometimes they do french beans and cauliflower cheese and parsnips but the vegetable selection today reflects the sunny weather.

It is delicious - the beef is delightfully pink in the middle and carved thin enough to fold engagingly on the plate.  The carrots sweet and tender to the bite without being mushy, peas firm and tasty and the gravy sumptious.  I know the gravy is painstakingly made the day before with an extravagant stock of meat bones and vegetables and it is truly good. 

If you  are lucky enough to get one of their pies: Beef and Red Wine, Beef and Stilton, Chicken and Mushroom (they sell out quickly) from the regular menu, you will receive a little jug full of this gravy to pour over your pie and mash.

The week day menu is resumed from 6pm and during the summer months when the Sunday roast is off the menu.  The Salisbury does not have a beer garden so the restaurant is unfamiliarly quiet on a hot day.

Other items I can recommend from the menu are: Grass Fed Rib-eye steak and chips; excellent pizzas; Chicken burger: whole marinaded chicken fillet in a large bun of toasted Turkish bread served with a dollop of hummus, sweet chilli sauce, salad and melted cheese - this is sublime; an Aussie burger - hand-made from spiced mince and seasonings; fish and chips - a light crispy beer batter encasing a sustainable fish called Pangush which I believe is a type of catfish, very very tasty.  All served with side salads and brilliant chunky chips - the fish and chips also comes with a little pot of minted mushy peas. 

My only criticism is that the vinaigrette for the salad is a little tasteless and when I had the mushroom and halloumi stack with couscous and roasted vegetables, the cous cous was a bit bland.  I told Chef and he said he'd experiment with the cous cous and soak it in a vegetable stock next time. He also blamed his trusty side kick Sergio for these abberations!  Chef was called in whilst on paternity leave as Sergio was making "Bad Gravy".  A great name for a band I think.  But Sergio does a fine job and he certainly knows his way round a potato peeler.

Chef also makes the occasional pudding: Plum Tart Tatin with ice-cream, apple crumble with custard; lime cheesecake with a chocolate base (mouth wateringly unctuous) and a chocolate fudge cake.  I've told him to start making his chocolate brownies with ice-cream and he's considering it.

The ambience over Sunday lunch is low key and family orientated - on a normal Sunday it is heaving but food all arrives promptly and the bar staff, though usually a little hungover I've noticed, are pleasant and attentive if a tad slow!  The pub itself is a grade II listed building and has a number of booths for a cosier seating experience, roaring log fires and comfy sofas, regular tables and a large dining area out back with a TV showing whatever the chef is watching: sport if you request it or any number of programmes from CBeebies for my daughter or a little soap fix for me.  It was designed by the same architect as the Queen's in Crouch End although its dining room is more laid back and the food less expensive.

It's a friendly pub which serves a really mixed crowd from students, seasoned locals, young trendsetters and older, more sedate folk.  Fridays and Saturdays tend to attract a party crowd and they have live music and all sorts of themed nights. They also run a great quiz night on a Monday with an experienced compere called Rowan, who is quite the quizmaster.  If you haven't tried the Salisbury before give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

Value for money is good too - it's competitively priced with a Sunday Roast setting you back £11.25 for roast chicken, beef, pork or lamb or the vegetarian nut roast which is £10.25.  For that, you do get a huge plate full of food. Their meat is sourced from the excellent Baldwin's butchers, also on Green Lanes, just a step from N8.

For a laid back, family friendly Sunday lunch, I can't recommend it highly enough.  Children are welcomed though requested not to run round the pub which is what they all seem to want to do!  It also hires out the back room for private do's and does a great buffet menu with a range of prices for all sorts of occasions.  Go on, try it, it's great!

Tags: Green Lanes, Hornsey, Opinion8, The Salisbury

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